American Airlines has ordered 15 Boeing 767-300ERs for delivery between 2002 and 2003, under plans to standardise its combined fleet after the TWA take-over, and simplify its transatlantic fleet to two types. At the same time, the airframer has received a further boost with the entry into service of the first winglet-equipped 737-800s.

The General Electric CF6-80C2-powered 767-300ERs will replace TWA's nine Pratt & Whitney-powered 767s, along with American's Airbus A300-600Rs on North Atlantic routes, enabling the carrier to standardise on the 767 and 777.

The A300-600Rs will be deployed on Caribbean and Latin American services. This, in turn, is expected to free 737-800s and 757-200s used on these routes, allowing American to "ultimately reduce the need to purchase additional narrowbody aircraft".

Meanwhile, the first 737-800s fitted with Aviation Partners Boeing-developed blended winglets entered service on 8 May with German carriers Hapag Lloyd and Air Berlin.

Coinciding with revenue services, Boeing received US Federal Aviation Administration production certification for the 2.4m (8ft) tall composite structures on the production line. The first aircraft to be fitted with winglets at the Renton, Washington production site, a South African Airways 737-800, will be delivered on 21 May. Further production winglet-fitted 737s are due to be delivered this month to AirBerlin and American Trans Air.

The Hapag Lloyd and Air Berlin aircraft were retrofitted under supplemental type certificates (STC) from the FAA and the European Joint Aviation Authorities. The joint venture plans to certify winglets for the 737-700 in the third quarter, followed by STCs for 737 'Classics', 767-200/300s, 747 'Classics' and 757s. It projects a market for 2,000 winglet-equipped Boeing installations and retrofits by 2008.

Source: Flight International